If you’re like many working freelancers, you probably have more than one set of skills. With nearly every phase of today’s active businesses being partially or completely outsourced, it’s easy to branch out into different areas. For instance, a web developer may have programming skills, and may also have the opportunity to dabble in graphic design and content writing. Dabbling can lead to more work, more work means more income and, before you know it, you can find yourself with a whole new portfolio.
Situations like the one described above are actually quite common in the world of freelance contracting. What’s more, the situation is often promoted by employers. Many service buyers like the idea of having one “go-to guy or gal” for multiple project types.
This scenario works for some freelancers. For many, though, one area or another of the business eventually begins to suffer. Many of you reading this article will be familiar with the feeling of being stretched too thin. If you’re pushing project deadlines and working extra hours, maybe you’ve broadened the scope of your business to the point of excess. Overexpansion has been the demise of many previously successful individuals.
Just to be clear, the example used above is only an example and we’re not saying you have to specialize or limit the scope of your work to be successful. Every freelancer has his or her unique formula for success. Just remember that adding extra ingredients may weaken the formula. If your current mix isn’t working, maybe it’s been thinned too much.
So, if you think you may need to narrow your focus, how do you start?
By determining where your efforts should be concentrated.
There are several factors to consider, but one good indicator is the amount of income from each area you’re working on. If one or two types of work are creating more income, there’s probably a good reason. It may surprise you to learn that this is probably the work you most enjoy. Perhaps it shouldn’t be too startling, since doing what you love is part of the reason you started freelancing in the first place.
There may be other deciding factors and in the final analysis, it’s up to you to determine what works best for you and your business. If you discover that you’re making an unplanned career change by eliminating or de-emphasizing what’s been the supporting facet of your business in the past, don’t be too concerned. Keep a positive attitude and make it a change for the better. Remember that you’re making these adjustments for the health of your business.
One final note: You don’t necessarily need to eliminate any income streams. Fortunately, you have the power of outsourcing at your fingertips, just like those service buyers that hire you. Countless freelancers have expanded their business by hiring other skilled freelancers. With a workforce of thousands of talented people available, it’s easy to find a few that you can work with to continue to provide a wide range of services for your clients.